“The strength of the team is each individual member. The strength of each member is the team.”
Welcome to Episode 11: Simplify Your Life with a Virtual Team
Teamwork makes the dream work right?
Well to begin with, the dream of every entrepreneur is that they will grow a successful business and create the dream life they’ve always envisioned. And a measure of that success is growth … So, what happens when we grow?
We get SUPER busy. The 24 hours in a day now seem almost impossibly insufficient and we realize we certainly cannot do this alone. We need HELP! And fast! We get to this strange and uncomfortable place where we realize that we really NEED to build a virtual team and start taking on talented virtual professionals to bring their own slice of magic to our projects. And by doing so, we gain time, value, and some pretty terrific inspiration.
Building a team of like-minded, ambitious, and hard-working virtual professionals will save you time, money, heartache, stress, and again … a bunch of bring fresh ideas and concepts to projects that you could never have dreamed of yourself!
Here's what we will be untangling in this episode ...
Are you ready?
Pop in your awesome earbuds and let's dive in!
Teamwork makes the dream work. Am I right?
The dream of every single entrepreneur worldwide, is that they want to grow a successful business and create the dream life they’ve always envisioned. And a measure of that success is growth. And what happens when we grow?
We get SUPER busy. The 24 hours in a day now seem almost impossibly insufficient and we realize we certainly cannot do this alone. We need HELP! And fast! We get to this strange and uncomfortable place where we realize that we really NEED to build a virtual team, and start taking on talented virtual professionals to bring their own slice of magic to our projects, and we gain time, value, and some pretty terrific inspiration.
Building a team of like-minded, ambitious, and hard-working virtual professionals will save you time, money, heartache, stress, and again … a bunch of fresh ideas and concepts to projects that you could never have dreamed of yourself!
… Okay, so now how do we do it?
First and foremost, it’s important to know the benefits of working on a team. So, let’s dive in and explore exactly what that means …
The success of any business often depends on how well you and other team members collaborate, especially if your team (or the team you are on) is mostly virtual. And these days, virtual teams have become what everyone is calling the “new normal” way of business life. And, in most cases, these virtual teams carry a significant share of the project workloads of many businesses -- of all sizes -- and even in international corporations. These virtual teams, now more than even, require higher levels of attention and effort than those who are co-located, because there are no office cultures to help manage them.
So, you’re probably wondering …
What can some of the benefits be for building a team?
As the great Michael Jordan says, “Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence wins championships”.
Great ideas don’t come from lone geniuses!
Albert Einstein gets all the credit for discovering the theory of relativity, but the truth is that he relied on conversations with friends and colleagues to refine his concept. And that’s almost always the case. Behind every triumph is a team. When people play off of their strengths and differences with one another, ideas are born, solutions are founded and dreams are created.
Diverse perspectives help you come up with winning innovations …
Most people think success comes from surrounding yourself with others that are like you, but true success involves different ideas, methods, and inspiration. Sometimes even vulnerability and discomfort. Differences of opinion, perspective, and experience can go a long way to finding creative and practical solutions.
Teamwork can truly make you happier!
When honest feedback, mutual respect, and personal openness and vulnerability are encouraged, team members can experience a higher level of emotional well-being. Working alone can be just that … lonely! But working with people you enjoy can give any day a happiness boost. You can jump on a Zoom call and get a pep talk or dump out your frustrations. These smiling faces of your peers will turn your frown upside down and make you so much better in a matter of minutes.
When you work on a team, you not only grow together, but also as an individual.
Being part of a team can help you grow. By sharing information and ideas, each individual member of the team can flourish. You can also learn from someone else’s mistakes which helps you sidestep future errors.
We truly don’t like this term though; we prefer to call it “room for improvement” as it has a more positive ring to it!
Feedback from other team members can not only brighten your day, but encourage our personal growth through open dialogues and even conflict. Your skills will only grow when you have others to bounce things off of on the regular!
Sharing the workload eases burnout!
Remember what we first talked about when you get so successful that the days are never long enough? Well, team members can provide emotional support to each other because they often understand the demands and stress of completing work better than anyone else. Having someone else to say “hey I’m done my stuff, need a hand with yours?” is pure GOLD … Quite simply, gold!
Dividing the work helps you grow your skills …
Collaboration is something we here at VU believe in very strongly – both internally and with our wonderful clients. If you think about it, our workdays are a lot like teamwork on the baseball diamond … when the pitcher and outfielders each excel at their individual roles, the team has a better chance of winning. So, we as individuals, cannot bear the entire load of mini tasks, big projects and constant Zoom room requirements, as they come in at a pace of a home run ball.
When team members use their unique skill sets to shine in their own roles, it creates an environment based on mutual respect and cooperation that benefits the group as a whole. A TEAM!
Recognition from others can -- and will -- improve your productivity!
Receiving praise and congratulations from a team member may be even more precious than that from a client. Knowing you’ve given your all to the team you love ever so much, and that their work is better for it, is just about the greatest thing a person can hear. And in today’s world we must remember more often than not that kindness is key to any beautiful relationship. If you water it … It will grow.
Working on a team helps you take risks that pay off …
YES! You can take on that challenging project you have been itching to swipe off your ever-growing to-do list! You can free up a bit of time to take that course or investigate that new resource tool! Or if you feel the need … Take that overdue cat nap that you ever so much need to keep your hamster wheel turning!
When you have a team beside you, you can spread your wings, take on more work, and challenge yourself every time – and anytime -- you want to.
When you work on a team you’ll feel less stressed!
If your team has good energy -- and it will because you built it custom to YOU … if you encourage and inspire each other and have fun together -- we can guarantee you’ll feel less stressed. Studies show that stress makes us slower and leads us to make more mistakes. And the opposite is true as well. When your team feels less frazzled, you will all make fewer errors and the goodies you produce will be top notch!
And last but most certainly not least …
Good communication boosts your creativity -- and productivity!
When people with different perspectives come together in group brainstorms, innovative ideas can rise to the surface. When you are vibing with your team and you play off of each other, creativity is 100% going to happen! And as most of you already know … creativity is OUR JAM!
However, this “magic” can only happen when you have trust, remember that no question is a stupid question, and that all constructive criticism is respected. And that it’s just that … personal opinion and not to be taken to heart.
And when you make #AllThings possible … it’s all love at the end of the day!
With that being said, I feel this quote from Phil Jackson is perfectly fitting …
“The strength of the team is each individual member. The strength of each member is the team.”
So, now that we’ve settled our inner demons and are convinced THIS is the avenue we need to take in order to get where we need to go … It’s a good time to talk about the fears of letting someone else in.
I actually just had this discussion with one of our VU client’s recently … They waited so long it got to the point where nothing made sense to them anymore. And they were only holding off on hiring a virtual professional because they were afraid. They were afraid to let someone else help their “baby” grow … Help their dreams come true … And let go of all control and just let someone in.
But now they did, and thankfully that someone they chose was us. And they are less stressed, have more time and have given themselves permission to do what they do best, while they let us, over here, take care of the rest!
And I know we’ve discussed this before in a handful of our blog posts and even one of our first podcast episodes … But it’s because it can truly be difficult to hand over the reins of your precious business to someone else.
This list of concerns is never ending.
Here are the top three fears entrepreneurs face when deciding to outsource to a virtual professional, no matter what talent they’re looking to bring on ...
The person I’m hiring will not produce as much success as I would if I did the work all by myself -- like I’ve already been doing.
This is 100 million percent a mindset issue. Oftentimes, we buy into “the hustle” mentality without even realizing how toxic it truly is. Most entrepreneurs think the more they hustle, the more success they will have. However, this is not true and commonly leads to burnout, lack of focus and productivity, and pure frustration which then leaves them doing #AllTheThings all by themselves. Even when someone else, equally talented, can be doing it for them.
It will cost way too much to hire someone to do the work I need done.
This is a common issue for some business owners and the fix is truly a simple one …. Do the math to see how much you would need assistance with project-wise and time wise, in order to maintain your profit margins while hiring someone to do the work. You will find that by adding someone -- or multiple talented individuals -- to your team, you will not only increase your growth levels, productivity levels, and decrease your stress, but see a grand increase in your profitability, as you will be able to maximize your time more effectively.
And finally …
I don’t know how to manage another person or an entire team. And I don’t even know if I can trust them!
This is truly a common issue and one we’ve struggled with ourselves here at Virtually Untangled over the past handful of years.
Your business is your baby, and you want everything to be “perfect”. And sometimes it’s hard to find someone who will take you and your business seriously, all the while sharing the same passion for the same end-result goals. This will all work out in your favour when you find “the right” people. When you’re finally able -- and ready! -- to hire a virtual professional (whether VA, designer, web or social media guru) who has amazing experience and wants to continue with professional growth, who is a self-motivator and doesn’t need a lot of hand-holding, it is a lot easier to manage work alongside them as opposed to someone who is constantly in a reactive state.
Even if you have never “managed” someone -- or an entire team before, oftentimes you simply just need to have an open mind and an open line of communication for it all to work for everyone.
We all know that starting your own business -- or growing it from wherever it is now -- takes courage, vulnerability, positive thinking, determination and guts …So, grab a hold of those feelings, hold them tight and just simply dive in!
There is no way to guarantee anything. And as we know for life itself as well. So, the best way to proceed is to educate yourself about HOW and WHERE to find those amazingly great team members and take that leap of faith!
Okay, so now that you know more about the benefits of having said virtual team and you’ve booted your fears to the curb, it’s time to dive into HOW to be a better than ever team member. And this doesn’t only go for those of you on other teams, working your asses off for the client(s), but even if you have -- or want -- a team and how to be good for yours too!
We all want to be gloriously amazing team players and we never want anyone to feel frustrated, disappointed or feel let anyone down. So, perhaps it’s time for us, as individuals, to reexamine our current ideas about what teamwork really is …
And for us to take those ground “rules” and put them into full-force action!
(And this goes for all members on the team, leaders included!)
The most effective virtual teams aren’t the biggest ones. Or the ones who juggle the most tasks. They are the ones who work TOGETHER with purpose towards a shared goal, all the while communicating efficiently and effectively at all times.
The main goal remains the same … every great leader needs a great team.
And as we’ve all experienced at one time or another, even if someone looks great on paper, we still need to make sure they’ll be a great asset to the team as a whole.
So, to make life a little easier for everyone involved, here’s a handful of what we like to consider “ground rules” to keep in your back pocket …
Now let’s tackle the very last piece of this virtual puzzle …
Finding the ideal team members for YOU.
Over here at Virtually Untangled, I have been at this virtual team thing for a while. And I once too started out all on my own, afraid to take the risk to ask for help and find someone reliable to help build out my dream, and those of my clients. But very recently, I found the most uniquely talented set of individuals and built the best, most awesome, all-girl, Canadian team. I’m not going to lie … It took me a while to find these special unicorns. But I could not be more proud of us and how well we work together.
I found my amazing VA; Rebecca; simply through a Facebook group post. She asked a question. I answered her. We talked. Then I took a leap of faith and offered her a job. And, honestly, it has been magic ever since!
She in turn (very recently actually) referred me to my other “honorary untangler”, my creative writer; Shannon. And once again magic was created!
We respect each other, are open and honest, we let our true selves show no matter how pretty or ugly, we’re vulnerable and I cannot stress this enough … on a day when I am frustrated and ready to have a meltdown, there is nothing like reaching out to my girls and feeling their warm virtual hugs and encouragements. I would not trade it for the world!!!
They enhance not only my business and those of our “tangled” clients, but my life too! And I like to think I enhance theirs. I am incredibly lucky to have the opportunity to benefit from their many talents. And in turn I am helping them grow their businesses and virtual dreams alongside mine.
So where can one find a special unicorn of their very own?
Well, there are many ways virtual professionals advertise their services.
They of course most often have their website and/or social media pages. And they usually tend to join Facebook groups and post their availability alongside their specialties in order to attract a client who may need their special brand of awesomeness.
LinkedIn is another terrific source to put it all out there into the universe that you are looking to grow your team. Or hop on one!
And I truly cannot say enough about the importance of getting (and giving) referrals and endorsements. And by bringing someone on board that already has some experience working with someone else that you know and respect.
I highly suggest creating a list of questions that you feel will best help you to determine if a candidate has what you are looking for. Personality, work style, availability, location, and creativity -- if needed -- all come into play when you want to add someone to your working life. It’s a huge deal to think about, I know!
And of course, it’s always a gamble in the beginning, just like hiring an employee for a brick and mortar business, you do not know how things will work out.
Same on the flipside as the one being contracted ….!
It takes time. It takes experiencing some situations together to determine if you are a good fit. And if you genuinely feel in love with having this person in your circle.
Speaking from experience, with my team, we have each other’s backs. No matter what business or life throws at us. Especially in this time of the pandemic, when we are all feeling isolated and human connection is needed more than ever before, my girls have always been only a click of a mouse, or Zoom call away. And the benefits of that connection and collaboration is priceless.
I am not trying to brag about the real connection we’ve made with one another. I just feel very lucky to have had a not so hard time finding “the right” people to help me grow and achieve #AllThings Virtually Untangled. And what you need to know is that YES! This dream team is an actual possibility!
So, it’s important to note that when YOU DO find your unicorns, like I have mine, you hang on tight -- for dear life! -- and never let them go!
Finding like-minded, hard-working, passionate and goal-driven people that you can trust and rely on is hard. But when the shit hits the fan … a real blessing as you know everyone will have one another’s back and everything team comes together!
Now with all that being said, and of course I cannot speak for everyone, but virtual professionals are usually in this type of business because they are passionate about what they do, therefore they are dedicated 100% to working WITH you to help you succeed in accomplishing your overflowing to-do list, your vision, and your end-game BIG DREAM goals. So ideally, it’s a win-win situation …
They are following their dreams and building their businesses, and you get to collaborate with passionate, talented people that make every day better, just by being a part of your dream too!